By gatewaycollective, Sep 14 2014 02:37PM
14th September 2014
So is 6 months since the last blog a long time?! I thought I was getting better at blogging but apparently not!
The headlines of the last 6 months to catch you up ...
Our journey with SSE is nearly up. (At the risk of sounding like my granny seriously where does the time go?!) I have learnt so much in the last year and met some truly inspirational people. It is so good to know that there are a group of passionate, committed entrepreneurs in Liverpool who are changing their spaces and communities for good. And if you haven't visited places like 'The Brink' then you really need to! Before starting SSE I knew I was meant to go forward with Gateway but didn't have a clue how. I still have loads of questions and days when I want to give up, eat cake and hide under the duvet but these days are less and less. I have more of a clue about marketing, how to keep an eye on income and expenditure and time management. But probably the biggest personal learning is that I only have to be me - which is good as it's exhausting trying to be someone else! I would look at other people on SSE and compare myself to them thinking they had it all together and I had somehow sneaked into the world of social entrepreneurship by the back door. As a result I would get stressed, set massive goals for myself which of course I couldn't reach. My Mentor and Action Learning Set were great in helping me to get over this and give myself permission to chill out. And it was when I chilled out the things began to happen.
We now have a community garden in North Park in Bootle! Well actually we have a patch of grass but soon it will be a community garden! In partnership with Ykids Bootle we will be creating a brand new community garden in North Park for local people and groups to access, learn about growing and get fresh, organic fruit and veg. We will also be using the site to grow produce that can be used in our chutneys - win win! We are now applying for funding to create our growing paradise and with £500 already in the bank from the local ACE fund things are looking good! We wanted more growing space and were praying about it and ended up with 2 gardens. As well as North Park we are working in the Hawthorne's Free School on their quad garden. Again this is in partnership with Ykids (a perk of being employed by them!). We are working with students to teach them the joy of growing your own and any surplus we will be using in our chutneys. Happy Days! I can't wait till Spring :)
The Gateway Collective is now a Community Interest Company - yippee!!! Our official title is The Gateway Collective C.I.C. This means we are registered with Companies House, need to produce annual accounts and are officially recognised as a company with social aims. It feels good to be official!
Probably the thing I am most excited about though is a potential link with Hugh Baird College in Bootle. We have strong links to Northfield Community Church which will be used as a venue for community learning for non-European women attending the college to learn English. The college are keen for the women to work with us too in the garden and in making and producing our products. This is exciting and something we will be moving forward with.
We still regularly attend Prescot Market as well as other 'one-offs'. There are people who come to us to chat and tell us what's going on for them and we love to build relationships and hopefully make people smile. A man in his 60's last week made us smile by announcing he used to be an internationally renowned pole dancer in a gold thong costume ... I am assuming he was joking but can't be 100% sure! People in all their randomness and quirks are great!
Jan and I both feel that God is with us on our journey and opening doors for us ... The gardens and the link with Hugh Baird happened within a few weeks of each other without us doing anything! While writing this blog I've got a Bible verse in my head 'but the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.' We want to show these attributes in our work with people and everyone we come into contact with. We're up for seeing Bootle turned into a place characterised by love, joy, peace, kindness and goodness ... Who's in?'